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Several education advocates, including the state's largest school district of Los Angeles Unified, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of student mental-health funding.

The Republican governor vetoed $133 million last month that was meant to pay counties for past mental health services for about 20,000 special education students. He also suspended a state mandate requiring counties to provide such services for students.

Because federal law requires schools to provide mental health services for special education students, K-12 districts would have to pay for them out of existing funds.

The California School Boards Association and the Manhattan Beach Unified School District joined the Los Angeles Unified School District in filing Tuesday's suit. They argue that the governor does not have the authority to suspend the mental health care mandate.

The governor said last month that he had to veto funding for mental health care and subsidized child care for former welfare-to-work families in order to build a more prudent reserve. An Alameda Superior Court judge blocked the $256 million child care cut until the state notifies parents of alternative options.

The school advocates said Tuesday in a statement that the governor's action has resulted in several counties rejecting new referrals from school districts.



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